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Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candidayeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans. Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the area of the body that is infected.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect areas such as the:
It is caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida, usually Candida albicans. This yeast is normally found in small amounts in the human body.
But certain medicines and health problems can cause more yeast to grow, particularly in warm, moist body areas. This can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
Cutaneous candidiasis and other forms of candidosis are infections caused by the yeast Candida albicans or other Candida species.
Cutaneous candidiasis is arguably the most common form of candidiasis. The infection involves the very outer-most layers of the skin.
Causes of Candidiasis
The body normally hosts a variety of germs, including bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body, some produce no harm or benefit, and some can cause symptoms or, at times, harm.
The fungus that most often causes candida skin infections is Candida albicans. These fungi take advantage of the warm, moist conditions. Skin infections caused by Candida may be found:
- In the diaper area in babies
- In the armpits, groin, and underneath the breasts
- At the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis)
- In toenails, or at the edge of the nails (paronychia)
Candida infection is more common in people with:
- A weakened immune system due to certain medicines and diseases, such as AIDS
You are more likely to get a candida infection if you take high doses of antibiotics or taken them for a long time. Antibiotics kill some of the healthy bacteria that help keep the fungus from over growing.
Candida also causes vaginal yeast infections and thrush, which affects the mouth.
Symptoms of Candidiasis
A yeast (candida) infection of the skin can cause intense itching.
Symptoms also include:
- Red, growing skin rash
- Rash on the skin folds, genitals, middle of the body, buttocks, under the breasts, and other areas of skin
Types of Candidiasis
- Thrush (“Oropharyngeal / Esophageal Candidiasis”)
- Vaginal Yeast Infections (“Genital / Vulvovaginal Candidiasis”)
- Invasive Candidiasis
Exams and Tests for Candidiasis
Your doctor or nurse can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. The health care provider may gently scrape off a sample of skin for testing.
Older children and adults with a yeast skin infection should be tested for diabetes. High sugar levels seen in people with diabetes act as food for the yeast fungus, and help it grow.
Treatment for Candidiasis
Good general health and hygiene is very important for treating candida infections of the skin. Keeping the skin dry and exposed to air is helpful. Drying powders may help prevent fungal infections.
Losing weight may help eliminate the problem if you are overweight.
Proper blood sugar control may also be helpful to those with diabetes.
Antifungal skin creams or ointments may be used to treat a yeast infection of the skin, mouth, or vagina. Antifungal medications taken by mouth may be necessary for for severe candida infections involving the mouth, throat, or vagina.